Webpage: www.empire21.se
Video clip: I Can't
Review: 90/100 @ PoM.dk
Ever wanted to find out what inspired a particular song?

Was it based on personal experience or simply passive observation?

What happened in the recording studio or on stage to make one song sound different from the rest?

These are just some of the question bands and musicians attempt to answer in Line 'em Up - the newest page of The Power Of Metal.Dk.

This is where your favourite bands comment on their albums, track by track, because as someone once said, “Ideas are the building blocks of ideas”.


Line'em Up with CJ Grimmark, guitarist in Empire 21.

Here’s a chance for you to tell our readers about your self-titled debut album.

But could you please start off by introducing the readers to the band?

Empire 21 – Empire 21 was originally started by singer Germán Pascual and our drummer Tobias Enbert. Germán and I were both in Narnia together between 2008 and 2010. Also Tobias, who normally played with Darkwater and Harmony, joined Narnia during the autumn of 2009 as a stand in drummer.

Germán and Tobias were kind enough to ask me to join their new project too, which I did after some needed rest after the turbulence that took place in Narnia before we split up in -10.

Then we came up with the name and found bass player Andreas Ĺlöv and keyboardist John Svensson, so...we had something going on. In the autumn of 2013 we parted ways with Germán, and my friend Ricard Hulteke joined in, making the final lineup complete. Ricard's very soulful voice blends so well with our straight, organic but refined melodic metal, it's just too good to be true.

Could you please give us some info on the album: Where did you record the album and who has produced and mixed it?

Empire 21 – We recorded the album in my own little studio. I have a few rooms in my house that I turned into a Pro Tools HD recording studio. It's not big at all, but I've got what I need as far as state-of-the-art recording equipment, lot's of guitars and amplifiers, haha :)

When we were done with all the tracking I sent all the recorded material to the amazing Tobias Lindell who mixed the album. It was mastered by my multi-talented friend Thomas "Plec" Johansson.  

And now onto your new album track-by-track, what inspired you, and what do what to express with this song etc.

01. When You're Falling
Empire 21 – Sometimes it’s better to relax, let go…and follow some advice given to us over 2000 years ago. We felt it was the perfect opener as it's so full of energy and action.

02. I Can't 
Empire 21 – A song about personal pride and the need for confirmation…but often we tend to look in the wrong direction while seeking it; building our personalities on pride and making our hearts turn hard and cold. A solid track that will hopefully get the crowds jumping and singing along :)

03. All is Lost
Empire 21 –  Our achievements, our science, our goals; a lot of it is good…but far from enough in respect to eternity. Another quite strong track, I'd like to think...

04. Traveler
Empire 21 –  About drifting, losing focus and longing for home. I got the idea for the ”Traveler” theme, and to create sort of a ”prairie vibe”, during one of my many journeys through the south-west USA’s desert landscapes that I love so much.

05. Empire 21
Empire 21 –  The album’s real metal anthem :) About the end of days, the devastation and the victory.  

06. 100 Nights
Empire 21 –  Kind of sums it all up. It’s a struggle going the way of the heart and the calling. But sticking to it IS worth it. Got some really cool verses and a chorus that could elevate the ceiling of any indoor arena :)  

07. Heard it All
Empire 21 –  This song says a lot about my view on politics, especially in my own country these days, but of course it’s very applicable to many other societies as well.

We follow ANY path that seems to be the politically correct path — at the moment.
Also, it has a great piano intro and probably my best guitar solo ever :)

08. This Is My Story
Empire 21 –  …about imperfection, forgiveness and grace...

09. Calling

Empire 21 - The albums most word-spitting tune :)
We better get on our knees and become a little more humble as human beings. We’re loved as we are…but hey, chill…it’s not like everything we do turns out perfect. Also touches political subjects here and there. This is probably the most musically aggressive track on the whole album. 

10. Would You
Empire 21 – A very catchy track...probably the most catchy track we'll ever make :)

11. No Matter the Winds of Change
Empire 21 - Again, it’s about the need to become a little more humble. I believe there is a creator of the universe, and I won’t apologize for saying it…I’m not judging anyone, but I’ll say what my strong conviction is: We have limited ourselves into believing only what we can see and measure, and I believe we need to get off our high-horses…including me… A smoking rock track that shows of Ricard's vocals in an amazing way, I think.

Tell us a bit about the artwork – who made it etc. and how important do you feel it is to have a cool artwork?

Empire 21 – The cover and booklet was made my our friend Markus Sigfridsson (guitarist of Harmony and Darkwater)

Artwork is important, of course. We had this little white dove in the middle of a broken and dirty industrial environment, and a very straight, almost cold looking, timeless logo made by Joao Duarte. We wanted the logo to be able to go well with merchandise design as well...I think we made it.

Any last words you want to round this interview off with?

Empire 21 – Thanks a lot for the attention, and please support us by buying our album - I don't think You will regret it!


Kenn Jensen, December 2014